Home Society and HistoryGrave in Dorset: Anglo-Saxon or Norsemen Warriors?
Grave in Dorset: Anglo-Saxon or Norsemen Warriors?

Grave in Dorset: Anglo-Saxon or Norsemen Warriors?

A team of archaeologists were called up to investigate a historical site Ridgeway Hill near Weymouth, Dorset. As the blade touched the dirt, a mass grave gradually revealed itself from the dirt. It was the Grave in Dorset that the archaeologists originally doubted who were inside the pit. Anglo- Saxon or the Norsemen warriors?

The controversial construction and unexpected discovery

Prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics sailing event in Weymouth, a project of route construction was planned to pass through the Area of Outstanding Beauty Nature which held the beauty and historical importance. Because the site is legally protected, the construction met with controversy.

Luckily, a team of archaeologists finally appeared at the site to investigate it. And this investigation turned out to be an unexpected discovery. They excavated a mass grave of 54 individuals.

The mass grave in Dorset with 54 headless skeletons

Indeed, what astonished the archaeologists and those who happened to see the grave was the headless skeletons. There were about 54 skeletons of individuals in the site. Those who buried these deceased placed the skeletons in one side and the skulls on the other. Although there were 54 skeletons, 51 skulls were present. This suggested that the executors could have taken the three skulls as the souvenirs for this massacred or placed them on the stakes. And the majority of the scholars believed the three missing skulls belonged to the important figures.

Archaeologists working on the Dorset grave
Archaeologists working on the Dorset grave

There were no traces of cloths in the site. The archaeologists believed that they were naked when their executors buried them. They were between their teens and 25 years old. No formal burial ritual appeared in the site. Someone dug up this mass grave only to use for this purpose.

The skeletons revealed that these Viking warriors met their bloody demise. A man got the cut of sword through his hand. From the cut, the archaeologists concluded that this man tried to defend himself from the blade which cost him many cuts and a fatal blow in his skull.

Anglo-Saxon or Norsemen?

The grave was in the politically important site so scholars have put many theories since the archaeologists found it. Originally, they thought that the graves were the Anglo-Saxons warriors who were executed by either other Anglo-Saxons or the Norse raiders. The skeletons suggested that these warriors lived around 10th or 11th century. During this time, many parts of Anglo-Saxon were torn apart because of political turbulence. In the meantime, the Norse raiders made use of this turmoil and started to raid parts of Anglo-Saxon.

Viking Dorset grave
Viking Dorset grave

Accordingly, presuming that these skeletons could be the Anglo-Saxons or the Norsemen was reasonable. But after almost two years of studying the skeletons, the researchers concluded that these skeletons belonged to the Norse men. Although the bones were similar to the normal Anglo-Saxon but these men enjoyed extremely high level of protein diet which perfectly matched the Viking lifestyle of fish consumption.

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